My dearest boys,
You have noticed Papa and Mama having a lot more debates in the past two weeks, be it at the table during meals, or during our rides in the car. Sometimes we get rather heated up in these discussions, and you, Junior J, would interrupt us to tell us to "Stop arguing!". We were not really arguing actually, just chatting about politics and the elections that have just passed.
Papa has rather strong views about politics in Singapore, even though he is not a Singaporean citizen. I think one main reason for that would be you, because children tend to make you think longer and further into the future than you normally would. He hopes for you to be able to grow up in a country that is governed justly and fairly, that balances the needs for economic growth and staying globally competitive, with the needs of the citizens of the country. He prays for a country that looks to the needs of the disadvantaged, the poor and the sick. He tells me how heartbreaking it is, to see elderly folk being admitted for poorly managed conditions, because they did not seek treatment earlier for the fear of needing to burden their children with their medical bills. It is partially because of this hope, that he has decided to continue to work in public healthcare, even though that means less pay and less flexible hours.
We have to be really thankful because our family is, like many families in Singapore, very comfortably well-off. We can eat out at cafes, where we can choose the food based on what we like, and not what is the cheapest item on the menu. You have an abundance of toys and books, a roof over your heads, a car that brings us for outings. We can get around easily even without the car, since we have a good public transport system, and Mama can bring you out on her own without worrying about being mugged, because our country has safe streets. You love outings to the library, because our library shelves are so well organized and stocked with good reads. We have much to be grateful for, and many during this period have shared the same sentiment. That has been a major deciding factor for the votes of many during this election, the mentality that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
Yet for us, while we are so very grateful for all that has been done by our government, we still worry about this mentality that has been termed as "navel-gazing". We hope for more to be done, not for ourselves, but for those who fall through the cracks. I guess this is why we were willing to listen to the alternative views and policies that have been proposed, and while our country has done well in general, we can always strive to do better. (A side point: We were impressed by the clear and well-researched proposals shared here. But going by the discussions I've read on FB, some had erroneous ideas because they obtained all their information from social media, and not from the actual source. Anyway, I digress.) We saw that some had their views and ideas shaped by social media, with little effort being made to read or understand proposed policies. I hope in time to come, we'll be able to talk through these issues with you boys. When it's your turn, take time to read manifestos, and think through the issues, and refrain from FB debates. Have the guts to form your own opinion based on sound research, and not popular opinion or fear-mongering.
Proposed policies and debates aside, remember that the Bible states that all authorities are established by God, and that we are to submit to our governing authorities. However, also remember that we are more than just a vote: our country is made up of people, and it is the people who make a difference. Our country has progressed so far, not just because of good leadership, but because of industrious and determined people, who stand in the gap and make things happen. We cannot just sit and point fingers at the government, and wait for them to make changes, because that limits our contribution to this country to just an "X" marked in a box on polling day. It is my prayer, that each of you will grow up to have a heart to serve others, to ask what you can do to make the lives of others around you better.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead
Remember, we are more than a vote, we are much, much more.
Love, Your Mama.